An hour’s drive southeast of Ontario’s Algonquin Park is a patch of rough land the highway planners avoided. People generally make their own fun in the Madawaska Highlands, but for almost 50 years there has been a solitary T-bar running 137 vertical metres up Madawaska Mountain, giving locals a reason to come together during quiet winters.
The problem is, the T-bar keeps stopping, years at a time. From 1970 until the 1990s it ran as a not-for-profit, then it was purchased privately and soon closed. The local township operated it under lease from 2009-12, but then it was bought by new private owners and closed again after only one season.
Shawna Babcock lives in the area and says its absence has been devastating for her family of five. “It was such a strong community hub. After a day of skiing, the kids would go back out and play on the hill and inside there was local food and open-mic music. This is an isolated area, but everything links together when you have that hub.”
Have you ever wanted your own private powder? Madawaska’s Lodge, lift and two (one almost new) groomers are currently on the market for less than most Collingwood chalets and ski club memberships: now at $500,000.